StartupHighway, an acceleration program with a twist

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Vilnius-based startup accelerator StartupHighway has opened applications this week to startups for up to 25.000 € in seed funding and participation of their newly design acceleration program. Unlike conventional accelerators, startups selected for StartupHighway can expect a flexible tailored acceleration program aimed at meeting their needs. Additionally a financial boost of 25.000 € and an opportunity to be based at the newly established Vilnius Tech Park.

Being the first Baltic startup accelerator expectations are high. It was only last month the UK-based Oxygen Accelerator geared an open call for applications from startups in the Baltic Region.

The program’s main focus will be put on individually tailored support and preparation for the startup’s growth and further investment readiness. Each program’s duration will not be framed into a standard pattern, on the contrary, it will be fully adjusted to each startup’s actual needs and extended or shortened accordingly. The leaders and investors of StartupHighway are confident that major attention to individual business needs will positively affect the accomplishment of prosperous projects.

“A more personalized emphasis on startups and an intense teamwork, adapted to achieve specific goals of separate products or services, will enable us to implement the fundamental quality of the program – the acceleration of expansion and growth of startup companies”, said Darius Žakaitis, one of the ‘StartupHighway’ co-founders.

Besides the shifting approach, StartupHighway program has announced more changes regarding the funding and it’s structure. This year the possible investment size of seed funding has increased from 14,000 € up to 25,000 € and will be distributed in separate tranches during the program.

“Last year Igor Matsanyuk, the founder of IMI.VC and the Chairman of the leading game development company ‘Game Insight’, joined ‘StartupHighway’ as an investor. The establishment of this meaningful partnership has not only secured better funding conditions, but has as well enhanced accelerator’s value with a wider network and greater expansion possibilities. It has made an advantageous impact and boost on the set of our competencies, therefore the importance of this partnership is significant to the success of our new acceleration program”, Darius Žakaitis commented .

The size of investment will depend on the number of startup co-founders and the prospects of the business idea. The funds will be in exchange for up to a 7,5% equity. The strongest teams will also compete for the working spot in a newly established technology centre Vilnius Tech Park. Vilnius Tech Park is considered to become the major technology hub for startups and other businesses within ICT sector in Lithuania. It is expected that it will bring both local and international talents from the most booming sectors, such as gaming, big data, cyber security and visual graphics.

This year, StartupHighway is organizing a 5th round of investment. Since it’s establishment in 2011 it has already invested in 17 companies from Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Italy, United Kingdom and Russia. In 2014 the portfolio of StartupHighway has been complimented with two new startups – Planner 5D and DevtoDev. More than half of alumni startups, such as Mobofree, Place I Live, Dragdis and ManoDaktaras have successfully completed the acceleration programme and subsequently attracted further investment from business angels or venture capital funds.

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